Pant-Soiling Scenes #25: The Conjuring 2

While a maniac with a blade scares me not, I’m still - in my late 30s – easily creeped out by the supernatural. A creaky floorboard here, a door that opens itself there… Goosebump central.

So when I went to see The Conjuring 2 last night with my buddy Kevin, my expectations of a watered-down sequel were kicked in the balls by some really quite frightening scenes.

The 70s London setting was relative, a memory of childhood growing up around similar patterns, colours, attitudes, dreary weather, school uniforms, crap appliances, and everybody in the country with the slightest interest in the spooky knows the Enfield Poltergeist story (see also Ghostwatch).

The nun was horrible, but the old man spectre was far eerier, as he purred “this is my house,” or appeared in TV set reflections in the middle of the day.

the-conjuring-2-official-trailer

Why though, didn’t they just burn that skanky ass chair? The freakin’ bloke died in it!!!

0900-KILL

out of the darkOUT OF THE DARK

2.5 Stars  1988/18/84m

“Mother always wared her: Never talk to strangers…”

Director: Michael Schroeder / Writers: J. Gregory De Felice & Zane W. Levitt / Cast: Cameron Dye, Lynn Danielson, Karen Black, Tracey Walter, Bud Cort, Silvana Gallardo, Divine, Geoffrey Lewis, Karen Mayo-Chandler, Starr Andreeff, Karen Witter.

Body Count: 8


‘Frightening erotic’ – what?

DePalma-style outing with a creepy clown-masked nutter doing away with the girls who work for Black’s 0900 service “Suite Nothings”. Could it be the owner’s bitter and drunken ex-husband? Or how about the pervert accountant downstairs? All suspicion tends to rest on the shoulders of photographer Dye who, with girlfriend Danielson, tires to suss out the mystery for themselves.

Stylish and sometimes atmospheric, but the effect wears thin after the initial murders, and just becomes a let’s-clear-my-name do-it-yourself detective movie with a twist that isn’t revealing enough to warrant all the pondering. Still, the good use of photography, realistic characters (though Divine is only on-screen for a matter of seconds in this, his last film) and some wicked send-ups of other horror-greats fill in for some of the missing elements; especially funny is the Halloween-ripped final few minutes with post-motive speeches and plot coils galore.

Look for swift appearances by Lainie Kazan, Tab Hunter and Paul Bartel as a hooker, driver and hotel clerk respectively.

Blurbs-of-interest: Karen Black was also in Children of the Corn IV: The GatheringCurse of the Forty-NinerOliver Twisted, and Some Guy Who Kills People; Karen Witter was later in Popcorn; Tab Hunter was in Pandemonium; Paul Bartel was in Killer Party and Trick or Treats.

Slumber Party Massacre XVIII

sn-dvd

SLEEPOVER NIGHTMARE

3 Stars  2004/15/81m

“The dead never wake.”

Director/Writer: Boon Collins / Cast: Hayley Sales, Richard Olak, Kristine Cofsky, Chad E. Rook, Ward McMahon, Graham Wright, Benjamin R. Hanson, Ace Hicks, Ashleigh Harrington, Jonas Shandel, Will Millar.

Body Count: 17


Cheap but likeable Canadian made-for-video outing (but shot on film, not digital) in which an escaped mental patient crashes a Labour Day party at a lakeside house and begins offing the teenage guests. Some references to cell phones and the like notwithstanding, here’s a film that looks authentically mid-80s and consequently doesn’t fall into the traps that claim most post-millennial slasher films: in short, it doesn’t spend the first hour trying to build up characters we won’t care about and cram all the action into the last 25 minutes.

Conversely, most of the kills in Sleepover Nightmare occur during the daylight at the party and only about 15 minutes of the film takes place after dark – making the title seem pointless in the extreme – lending it an all round more nostalgic feel that it’s been made out of love for the genre rather than as a pretentious ‘we know better’ vanity project with a crowbarred-in niche (see The Pumpkin Karver, Scar, Devon’s Ghost etc). That said, the film has obviously been padded out with a needless flashback scene, which tells us that the killer went berserk seven years earlier at a similar party, and ended up killing a few guests.

sleepover nightmare

In the present day section of the film, he favours killing off the teens with a metal spear, but sets it aside to use cars, outboard engines and, in one memorable scene, impales one poor guy with his own beer can. It also benefits nicely from characters who aren’t overtly annoying, despite the presence of the stock asshole boyfriend of the heroine and the girl he cheats with.

Not the kind of film you’d remember a few days after seeing it, but a fun 81 minutes nonetheless.

Blurb-of-interest: Director Collins was one of the co-writers of Night Warning.

 

*GASP!* It’s you!

Watching an episode of the rather bleakly awesome Person of Interest this week, I was pleased to see Ned Eisenberg appear as a miserable bureaucrat. Of course, we all remember Ned for playing permanently-scowling Eddy in the infamous stars-of-the-future slasher The Burning:

ned eisenberg burning person of interest eddy

Ned also appeared in the amusing Police Academy rip-off Moving Violations in 1985, as a Friday the 13th-obsessed weirdo, hockey mask n’ all, alongside Jennifer Tilly.

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